7.5. KVM Memory Mapping

FreeBSD uses KVM to hold various kernel structures. The single largest entity held in KVM is the filesystem buffer cache. That is, mappings relating to struct buf entities.

Unlike Linux, FreeBSD does not map all of physical memory into KVM. This means that FreeBSD can handle memory configurations up to 4G on 32 bit platforms. In fact, if the mmu were capable of it, FreeBSD could theoretically handle memory configurations up to 8TB on a 32 bit platform. However, since most 32 bit platforms are only capable of mapping 4GB of ram, this is a moot point.

KVM is managed through several mechanisms. The main mechanism used to manage KVM is the zone allocator. The zone allocator takes a chunk of KVM and splits it up into constant-sized blocks of memory in order to allocate a specific type of structure. You can use vmstat -m to get an overview of current KVM utilization broken down by zone.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

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